Mexico's ban on live swine not of market significance

Published on: Jul 4, 2013

While the U.S. Department of Agriculture continues its negotiations with Mexico in an effort to get restrictions on live swine imports from the U.S. lifted, economists don’t see the ban as having much market significance since pork muscle cuts and pork variety meats are still allowed to move south over the border.

The restrictions on live swine heading into Mexico were put in place in late June due to concerns over porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED).

Mexico’s National Food Health, Safety and Quality Service (Senasica) is seeking technical information about the PED outbreak and measures being used in the U.S. to prevent PED from spreading as well as information on actions taken by the U.S. to ensure that its exports are safe. 

“Exports of live pigs are important for U.S. breeding stock producers but are not a significant factor in the butcher hog market. This move by Mexico should have little or no impact on market hog prices,” according to the Daily Livestock Report, published by Steve Meyer & Len Steiner, Inc.

As of June 22, at least 265 cases of PED were confirmed in the U.S. in 14 states. So far, Mexico has no reported cases of the disease.

PED, a fairly common illness among hog populations, is spread by animal-to-animal contact or by contaminated equipment.  It is not a reportable disease under the rules of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and not a trade-restricting disease. 

The strain of PED now spreading in the U.S. is genetically similar to a virus that killed more than a million piglets in China after it was diagnosed in 2010. 

The virus causes diarrhea and vomiting in pigs but does not affect people, and pork remains safe to eat.

For more information on PED.